Mykolaiv region. The most impressive places to catch your breath and how to get there
Once on humorous maps of the Ukrainian areas, the Mykolaiv region was marked as "the road to Crimea" or "also has tasty watermelons." It's also true, but not everything. In the Mykolaiv area, there are many picturesque and unique places. There's beautiful nature and extraordinary historical monuments. We invite you to see for yourself and discover new tourist attractions in the South of Ukraine.
Mykolaiv region has its own Crimea
It's small, though, but no less exciting. Not far from the village of Aktove, Voznesensk district, the Mertvovid river flows through a rocky valley. Its path passes through weathered granite rocks, the depths of which sometimes reach 40-50 meters. This complex of boulders and rocks is called Aktove Canyon. Its area is more than 250 hectares, and it reaches 5 kilometers in length. One of the most ancient land corners of the entire Eurasian continent, in terms of geological and landscape indicators, is similar to the legendary canyons of North America and Crimea. Hence, the name has become established among locals and guests of the region.
Aktove Canyon isn't the only one. Nearby there are also Arbuzynka and Petropavlivka canyons. However, "Little Crimea" has become a kind of signature of the area: every year people come here for rafting (river rafting), mountaineering, and admiring the Red Book flora. Due to the unique climate in this plain region, mountain tulips grow here.
Like the entire South, there are historical intertwining at every turn, which comes to life in local legends. For example, the very name of the Mertvovid river leads us from the Scythians to the Cossacks. According to one legend, the locals once poisoned the Tatar army, which sought to take away the gold hidden in the canyon. After tasting the water with a dangerous decoction, all the enemies died. According to another legend, once there was a bloody battle between the Zaporozhian Cossacks and the Turkish army. There were so many dead bodies that it was difficult to see the water because of them. According to locals, even now on a moonlit night you can hear the ringing of sabers and distinguish barely visible figures of soldiers. Due to its long and turbulent history, the area is sometimes even called the devil's place and it's not recommended to walk here by yourself.
Aktove Canyon is part of the "Granite-Steppe Lands of Buh" regional landscape park. This is one of the gems of a huge nature reserve.
How to get there: it's best to get here by car. However, you can also take a minibus. First, to the city of Pervomaisk, and then to the village of Arbuzynka or Aktove. Then it's easier to reach the spot on your own or rented transport. The place is quite difficult to reach, so be patient and take time.
Another surprisingly attractive part of the Granite-Steppe Lands of Buh Park is Ukrainian Switzerland, namely the village of Myhia. Having received such a respectable title for the charming landscapes, this tiny town is gaining more and more tourist recognition every year.
If beach entertainment (namely laying on the sand and sunbathing) brings you sadness and grief, we offer something very refreshing. Namely, rafting. It's an extreme sport; high-speed rafting on a mountain (or in this case, a flat stormy) river through rapids on a raft, tube, or inflatable boat, called a raft. Today, travelers run several routes, which include both areas of epic struggle with the water element, and complete relaxation.
Those interested can swim in the stormy waters with the effect of a jacuzzi (body rafting) or conquest the rock (for example, in the nearby tract, Protych, there are cliffs 20 meters or more high). Don't forget that rafting is a highly active vacation, so you'll need to catch your breath after. And also, it's quite dangerous. That is why you should listen very carefully to the instructors, check the equipment, and follow the flow.
Rafting is a great idea for people in need of thrill and active recreation.
How to get there: by train, bus or minibus; you arrive in the city of Pervomaisk, and then, also by minibus, to the village of Myhia. You can even get there on foot. There are many places to stay in the village, but we highly recommend using the camping areas and feel like real Robinsons Crusoe.
There's a radon lake right next to Myhia. It has a man-made origin. This is a water-filled granite quarry. That's what the locals call it, by the way. Since childhood, the idea of going swimming "at a quarry" has caused incredible excitement. Not least because of the size of the reservoir.
Nature made its adjustments and the abandoned reservoir was gradually filled with water, which due to the high concentration of radon acquired a pale blue hue. This inert gas has many medicinal properties for the human body and has a beneficial effect in the treatment of injuries, diseases of the cardiovascular and nervous systems, musculoskeletal systems, and more. However, there's a downside: radon itself is a decay product of radium. Therefore you can't have much contact with it.
The lake is almost transparent, there are several places for diving. However, it's very deep here, make a note. Up to 40-42 meters. That's why we advise you to be careful and responsible and not to create adventures in the wild and undeveloped places of the lake.
There's an observation deck, a swing, and an art object: a forged iron heart (Instagram alert, the photos are incredible). And a trolley was stretched over the lake. And not just a trolley, but the highest and fastest in all of Ukraine. The ones who like the thrill overcome the length of 454 meters in less than half a minute (i.e., the speed reaches 60 km/h). This combination of resort relaxation and active recreation is very close to Myhia. It's ideal to spend the afternoon there and go on to meet other adventures.
How to get there: the easiest way is by car or bus from Myhia. You can't drive to the lake by car, but there's an equipped parking lot with a sports ground from where you can walk to the water.
Forests in the steppes
Even though the South traditionally appears in our imagination as a hot and arid plain, there are also forest areas. Among them is the picturesque Trykraty forest, located on the Arbuzynka river. It was founded in the early 19th century by Count Victor Skarzhynskyi. The initial idea was to create a small park, but the plantations were constantly growing, growing, and gradually a real forest with mighty oaks, birch groves, rich fauna appeared. Trykraty forest consists of several tracts that flow smoothly into each other. From "Vasyl's Apiary" you find yourself in "Labyrinth," and from "Summer Farm," you travel to "Myron's Grove" and "Grape Garden."
You can meet bison, roe deer, fallow deer, and deer. However, meet them only to say hello. Although the area is rich in livestock, hunting is strictly prohibited. And in the forest, there's a real fountain. One of the brightest parts of the park, "Labyrinth" abounds in miniature bridges across the Arbuzynka river. Like a "Sofiiivka" park, where the power is given to nature and the elements.
How to get there: You can get to Trykraty Forest by public transport: by bus from Mykolaiv to Voznesensk, and then by minibus to Trykraty. The car should go on the route Kyiv-Mykolaiv and after the city of Voznesensk don't miss the turn to Trykraty. Locals will easily direct a further route. By the way, Trykraty is also very close to Aktove Canyon. So these tourist places can be combined into one trip.
Kinburn Spit is a place of legends and sandy plains
The Mykolaiv region isn't traditionally associated with Ukrainian seaside resorts. And it's time to correct this injustice.
For example, by visiting Kinburn, the sandy spit, stretching for 5-7 km from the tiny city of Ochakov in the Mykolaiv area. The far northwestern part of the peninsula of the same name, between the Black Sea and the Dnieper-Buh estuary, belongs to the spit. The spit itself is almost 10 km long.
There are very unusual landscapes: the steppes are replaced by relict groves, vineyards, and hop thickets. Pines with lakes and sea bays are growing nearby. Flocks of pink flamingos, herons, cranes, and even eagles harmoniously fit into this landscape. The area is protected: the Ivory Coast of Sviatoslav National Nature Park and the Kinburn Spit Landscape Park function here. Their task is to protect about 200 representatives of rare flora and fauna of Ukraine from extinction. By the way, this activity has already begun to bear some fruit. According to scientists, the creation of small artificial islands has already allowed rare species of birds to create their colonies here. And the remains of an ancient Turkish fortress have been preserved on the spit. It's unlikely that you'll be able to get an impression of what it looked like in ancient times, but there are landscapes nearby that take your breath away!
In general, Kinburn Spit is a place where you can escape from civilization. There are not too many tourists and not so developed service. However, if all-inclusive is something you try so hard to avoid, come to the wild sea. Meet the pheasant in the grass and look at the dolphins in nature. Try to get closer to the origins and experience all the benefits of wild tourism.
How to get there: and this is your first adventure! It's best to do it by hydrofoil boats, also called rockets. The latter go from Mykolaiv, Kherson, Nova Kakhovka. Be sure to book seats by phone! The rockets reach on the Nibulon berth, closer to the edge of the spit. From Ochakiv, you can reach the village of Pokrovske by longboat.
Another option is ground buses, SUVs. Be sure to pay attention to weather conditions. All transport directly depends on them.
Happy city of the ancient Greeks
And again about busting myths. This time the ones from ancient Greece. In the territory of the Mykolaiv region, there's one of the most northern places of residence of ancient Greeks, Olbia. Translated as "happy, rich", this colony was founded by natives of Miletus in the first quarter of VI century BC on the right bank of the Dnieper-Bug estuary. During its heyday, it played the role of a trade and fishing center in the region, actively interacting with the Scythian settlements. At that time, a record 15,000 people lived on the territory of 50 hectares. Excavations of the ruins of Olbia were turned into an archeological reserve in 1924. However, research work is being conducted here to this day.
As elsewhere in the region, Olbia had a close intertwining of cultures and traditions: for example, the Greeks replaced the Cimmerians and Scythians. Gradually, the temples of Zeus and Apollo appeared here. The importance and greatness of Olbia are evidenced by the fact that in 450 BC, it was visited by the famous historian Herodotus. Thanks to him we know a lot about the life, history, and political life of the colony. Having died at the beginning of the 4th century AD from the invasion of the Huns, Olbia hasn't disappeared from the pages of history. It's still studied by scholars and admirers of antiquity. This is one of those places where you realize the flow of time and its greatness. After all, there are thousands of years of relentless and ruthless history between us and the ancient settlements.
How to get there: The ruins of Olbia are located near the village of Parutyne, Mykolaiv region. To reach them, you can use public transport from Ochakiv (and before that to visit the Kinburn peninsula). Parutyne is located 30 kilometers from Mykolaiv. Several times a day there are buses from Ochakiv and almost every hour, from Mykolaiv. As soon as you arrive, ask the locals or use the navigator, go towards the estuary.
Places of spiritual recreation
Sometimes you want to be alone with your own thoughts and think about the eternal. The coolness of the temples is best suited for this, where the faces of the saints are eagerly looking at us. Visit the Orthodox convent of Pelahiivka of the Novyi Buh district. The complex is represented by St. Michael's Church with three thrones. It has a height of almost 50 meters and is topped by 12 gilded domes. Each is decorated with a bell. The building itself is richly covered with stained glass. The crosses of this real man-made miracle on the banks of the Inhul River have built-in mirrors so that travelers can see the temple for many kilometers.
Construction began in the late 19th century, when brothers Mykhailo and Andrii Durylin, following the spiritual will of his father, decided to build a temple in memory of his mother Pelaheia, who died early. In 1904, the temple was consecrated. Like every spiritual building, churches have been destroyed, looted, converted, and so on. However, today there's a nunnery.
Tourists and pilgrims come here to see the icon of the Savior "Life-giving spring" of the 16th century, which details previously invisible to the human eye began to appear in the picture in 2001. The temple has 12 domes crowned with mirror crosses. It is believed that another image, namely the Volodymyr Icon of the Mother of God, gives healing.
How to get there: the best way is by car from Kryvyi Rih or Mykolaiv on the H11 highway to the city of Novyi Buh. After the city, turn onto the P55 road, pass the village of Sofiiivka, and then follow the sign to the village of Bereznehuvatske, pass the village of Kamiane, followed by Pelahiivka.
And again to nature beauty
Landscape parks of the South of Ukraine are a very underestimated recreational resource. Be the first to appreciate the beauty of untouched nature and visit Tylihul. The park of the same name is considered to be the cleanest reserve on the Black Sea coast. It was founded back in 1995. The park was created to preserve the unique nature of the Tylihul Spit and promote it to tourists. The nature here surprises even experienced fans of green recreation. In particular, crystal clear water in limans, the ominous swamps, or the wide steppes, which provide shelter for thousands of species of animals. Many of the inhabitants are listed in the Red Book of Europe. In addition, the place has balneological attractions. On the territory of the reserve, there are reserves of hydrogen sulfide mud, the medicinal properties of which have been known since ancient times.
Three eco-tourism routes (green trails) have been developed within the park, namely Tylihulskyi Peresyp, Atamanska Kosa, and Tashynskyi. They are the most popular among visitors. The first runs along the lakes of the Tylihul liman near wetlands. The second is along mud lakes and spit of the central part of the Tylihul liman. The third trail passes near Tashynska Bay for visitors to get acquainted with one of the largest steppe massifs of the Mykolaiv region.
Despite the obvious advantages, tourists are not in a hurry to come here due to the lack of infrastructure. So be the first and find yourself in the wild just a few hours from the big cities.
How to get there: by minibus from Mykolaiv to Berezanka, and further, by car.
The power of the peaceful atom
On the territory of the Mykolaiv region, there's the youngest nuclear power plant in Ukraine, Yuzhnoukrainsk Nuclear Power Station. It's located on the left bank of the Pidennyi Buh River, near the Tashlyk Reservoir, construction was completed in 1982.
The amount of energy produced at nuclear power plants per year is 10% of the national electricity production and about 25% of its production by nuclear power plants in Ukraine. Yuzhnoukrainsk Nuclear Power Station, with the amount of energy produced, provides living and working conditions for the region with a population of over 5 million people. Its capacity is enough to provide electricity to the population and industry and agriculture of Mykolaiv, Odesa, Kherson regions, and the Autonomous Republic of Crimea.
Nuclear power stations are not only nuclear reactors but also a huge infrastructure complex, which includes hydroelectric power plants, reservoirs, administrative and other facilities. The most interesting thing is that you can partially look behind the scenes of the entire process just by visiting the tour. You'll be taken to the very center of the station, which offers a view of both the reactors and other rooms. In the middle of a small square, there is an art object, a map of Ukraine, which contains spotlights that symbolize all units of the nuclear power complex of our country. Next to it, there is a huge shield with indicators of radiation levels. And believe me, the figures are mostly lower than on the streets of the capital. In such places, you best understand the greatness of human progress and its relentlessness.
How to get there: by minibus or bus to the city of Yuzhnoukrainsk. You should request a tour directly on the Station's website.
City of shipbuilders
It is the name of the largest city in the region and its administrative center. Mykolaiv is an industrial and tourist spot with a rich history and beautiful landscapes.
Several records have been set here. For example, the city has a drawbridge, Inhul Bridge, the lifting part of which is the largest in Europe. And on the other one, Varvarivskyi Bridge, the drawing is performed horizontally with a turn of 90 degrees. It's the only one of its kind in our country.
In sunny weather, it is nice to walk one of the longest pedestrian streets in Ukraine, Soborna. Here, as everywhere in the center, there's a huge number of nice and cozy cafes and shops.
The city's landmark is one of the oldest observatories in Eastern Europe, founded in 1821. The building was even included in the previous list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Another undisputed attraction is one of the oldest of the largest zoos in Europe. It's a member of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums. In general, there are about 8,000 such institutions around the globe, but there are only 254 members of the community. And the Mykolaiv Zoo is one of them.
The oldest yacht club in Ukraine is also located in the city. This is a surprisingly picturesque place. Even though during the Second World War it was destroyed, and most of the ships were taken out, the yacht club was taken away and now there are regular regattas and competitions in sailing, and there is a specialized children's sports school.
Mykolaiv is a city of museums and galleries. Here you can find exhibits about any time and art of different times. Interestingly, wandering the street, you can't get lost. All of them are located perpendicular to each other, so navigation problems won't arise even for the most confused travelers. It's best to come to the city under the patronage of St. Nicholas in the spring. Then it's quite warm, but there's no depressing southern heat.
How to get there: by train or bus from anywhere in Ukraine.
💚 The Mykolaiv region is a beautiful, rich-in-sights, and extremely hospitable region. So far, yielding to the number of tourists in Kherson and Odesa regions, this region is constantly increasing its tourist potential. And we invite you to the hospitable land of steppes and rapids and we hope that here you will find another reason to fall in love with Ukraine again and again.